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Today my app's metadata was rejected by Apple.

Reason -

"8.1 - Apps must comply with all terms and conditions explained in the Guidelines for Using Apple Trademarks and Copyrights and the Apple Trademark List" Your app does not comply with the Guidelines for Using Apple's Trademarks and Copyrights. Specifically, your app marketing screenshots show the iOS home screen and native iOS app icons.

I asked them why almost all other apps could use iPhone on app screenshots but I can't?

On that they answered:

On occasion, there may be apps on the App Store that don't appear to be in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines. We work hard to ensure that the apps on the App Store are in compliance and we try to identify any apps currently on the App Store that may not be. It takes time to identify these occurrences but another app being out of compliance is not a reason for your app to be. Please remove any likeness of Apple trademarks from your app.

My screenshots look like: enter image description here

I'm rather confused by the rejection reason because a lot of other apps (e.g. https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id915637540, https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id637855838 (very similar to mine), https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id461953674, https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id284815942) use similar screenshots, apparently without problems.

I would really like to submit the app with the screenshots as they are, what is the recommended course of action to reconsider a submission?

  • I suggest you create screenshots without Apple's icons on them - that appears to be what they're objecting to. Could you not create icons that look somewhat like Apple's ones without actually copying them? – amergin Mar 17 '15 at 23:02
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    It might be easiest to replace screenshot 1 with a similar shot taken within the app's UI (like 2 and 4). Replacing 3 and 5 are difficult since showing the wallpaper in place on the home screen is obviously the point - but perhaps engineering your home screen so that only your app's icon is featured would get the point across while being acceptable to App Review. – Dan J Mar 17 '15 at 23:05
  • Maybe changing Apple icons to Alternate icons will help me? – Edgar Mar 18 '15 at 0:55
  • Also, how do you think will it be trouble when they will see that "preview mode" uses apple icons in my app? – Edgar Mar 18 '15 at 0:58
  • @DanJ Good suggestions, but any use of product outlines and/or home screen icons are explicitly spelled out what is allowed. I'll link to those details in my answer. – bmike Mar 18 '15 at 15:39
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If you step back, you might succeed in arguing "but officer, all the other drivers were speeding" in defense of your situation if the officer hasn't heard that argument 100 or 1000 times already.

Instead, realize that you are swimming against that tide now and Apple is changing the requirements and wording on what is acceptable marketing for app screen shots.

See these changes at: http://www.appstorereviewguidelineshistory.com

Apple is the seller and there are actual legal consequences if a consumer asks for a refund since the product being sold is different than described. Specifically, Apple markets your app with those images as "screenshots"

If you look at the kickstarter app every single image is one that you would see if you pressed the home button and sleep button and released both while the Kickstarter app was running.

None of the images you submitted are screen shots of the app. They might be screen shots of marketing materials or a web site, but that's not what Apple is selling.

And yes - you are blatantly in violation of the marketing agreement and using Apple's trademarked design for promoting your product, so stop doing that right away,

If you look at the current review guidelines and Apple's marketing agreement with developers, I'd say you'll want to adhere to several items in particular:

  • From the preamble - If your App is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.
  • From the marketing agreement 2.4 - Never display the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch Home screen or any icon or image that you do not own.
  • Also from the marketing agreement 2.7 - Do not surround the product with a highlight.
  • Also from the marketing agreement 2.10 - Screenshots should display only the actual screen content from your app that a user will see when the app is running. Do not incorporate Apple product images into your screenshots on the App Store.

I wouldn't recommend taking this to the review board, since this is so clearly wrong on several fronts (using Apple's home screen and iPhone image as well as not using actual screenshots where screenshots are requested).

Lastly, if you really want to use Apple's images you could contact their legal and licensing teams and get written permission to use Apple's icons and design beyond what the standard agreement allows. You'll probably have to pay for it, but my guess is that some companies have gotten Apple to budge on this since they co-market products. Think AT&T and such buying national media but it's not impossible that some apps in the store also have Apple's blessing to use a home screen.

Cheers and good luck with your app.

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    Also, I admit I'm cranky about 2.10 and screen shots not being screen shots. I wish Apple took a far harder stance on that and removed all the craptastic photoshopped screen artwork and required all developers to submit real exact screen art or let the tester choose three views for the app from their testing. Especially from featured apps, but I'm not king of that empire. I should probably make a T-Shirt saying 2.10 forever or something... :-) – bmike Mar 18 '15 at 15:26
  • Thank you for your detailed answer! I have changed Apple icons to alternate icons (with free license) and submited app for review. P.S. It took less then 20 minutes to go from "waiting" to "in" review. Hope it's a good sign :)) – Edgar Mar 18 '15 at 18:49
  • nope, doesn't help also - "Your marketing screenshots show a likeness of the iOS home screen." – Edgar Mar 18 '15 at 21:05
  • @Edgar Like I said, you'll want to back way off and stick to the rules. Just show your screen shots and stick away from showing an outline of the iPhone or something that looks like one. – bmike Mar 19 '15 at 1:58

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